When the bees disappeared

dead-bee

She looked out the fence of their camp.  She walked along the borders until a guard told her to get away.  There was nothing to see that she hadn’t seen anyway, some days she dreamed of climbing that fence.  But she saw people shot for less.

Her stomach growled.  Her thin body was lost in her faded blue dress.

She was so hungry it was hardly a feeling anymore.  They lived in a camp, her parents referred to it as a prison.  There were thousands living there with armed guards.

She was born here, so she did not know what a prison was.  She did not know of the wonderful food her parent told her existed.  Even, they said you could grow it from the ground.  She tried to eat the dusty, dry weeds that grew here and there but they only scratched at her throat.

She saw trees outside of the fence but many were dead.  Their many bare naked black arms reaching for the heavens.  Begging God to be merciful and give them life.

She walked back to their one room house and sat on the stoop.  Her mother was inside humming a song.  Her father was off doing labor for the camp guards.  He had to to earn the grain and firewood they passed out for everyone to eat and cook with.  And the small bit of gray drinking water they rationed out.   She often looked at the old dusty cookbook and wondered what foods such as tomatoes and raspberries taste like.  Such beautiful words to say from the lips.  Her mother told her of their juicy, sweet, tang.  And they were beautiful.  Vibrant reds, oranges, deep purples.  Those colors did not exist even in clothing anymore.

Why she wondered, did God give her this life?  Why did he not care to give plants life anymore.  When she asked her father he told her humans did it because of money.  They wanted money so horribly, they created GMO’s.  And the effects of those were like lighting a fuse.  Some people’s reactions from GMO’s were to go mad,  others died early, and then the food started disappearing.  As if in a protest from the plant world, they slowly refused to grow anymore.  Then the water turned dirty.

Now, here she was, aged 12 years and never knowing world outside this camp, this boring camp.

She heard a buzzing, like a small engine or helicopter.  She looked around and above her in the distance and saw nothing.

Then she felt a sharp bite on her elbow and looked down.  It was a small fuzzy black and yellow bug, with wings.  It lay on the stoop beside her wriggling as if in pain.  As she watched it die, she felt bad.  She was surprised because the many humans she saw die over the years, never made her feel this bad.  There were too many.  But she never saw this one before.  She picked up it’s dead body, as her elbow throbbed and swelled and grew hot.

She held it by the silvery, beautiful wing.  It was like the velvet pillow her mom had, so fuzzy and pretty,

“Mama, what is this?  It bit me.”  she drops the insect in her mother’s hand.

Her mother looks at her with a light growing in her dull eyes.

“Oh darling, where did you get this?”

“It bit me, then it died.”  she tells her.

“It stung you, baby.” she says.

Her mother smiles and puts it on the table  They sit at the small table and look at it.  Her mother’s bones jaunting out of her faces as she still smiles.  Despite her disheveled , greasy hair, and drab blue dress that hung to her bones.  She looked gorgeous and full of hope.  She had never seen her mother this way.

“Mama, what is it?”

“Oh darling, it is a honey bee.  They made honey from flowers.  It was so sweet and sticky and delicious.  You could eat it on a biscuit.  And it was delicious.”  She said with such amazement in her voice.

She looked at the honey bee.  What a beautiful name.  Honey bee,  She wished it didn’t die, she would love to taste the honey.  And to think, this little creature made this honey from flowers.  What a miracle this little creature was.  God sure must have loved humans to send such a hard worker in such a small form to give them the glorious gift of honey.

“What does this mean, mama?”

“I don’t know baby.  I have not seen a honey bee in years.  Maybe they are coming back.  Maybe after all the destruction the greedy people did to this planet, maybe the bees are trying to come back.  Maybe the water is no longer black and poison also. How are we to know, they keep us in these camps.”

Her mother still looking at the bee in amazement.  A single tear rolled down her eyes.

“These honey bees started disappearing long time ago.  That was the beginning of the end of food as we knew it.  But everyone was too busy worrying about money.  Then when the food started disappearing and the water poisoned all the animals we ate, people started killing each other over food.  That is why we are in the camps.    To be safe and eat the grains they give us.  I was pregnant with you when they took us from our home.  It was just as well, we had no more food or water.  Maybe, maybe, this little bee is sending us a message.  Let us hope it is a good one.”

The girl rubbed her elbow.  The bite was hot and tight to the touch.  Little honey bee what were you  trying to tell me?  She asked in her mind.  She stared hard at the beautiful little bee’s carcass and listened.

She heard nothing.

© Dana Lone Hill 2013

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12 thoughts on “When the bees disappeared

    • The opening scene, dropping us right into the world, the conflict, and a character it’s easy to empathize with, wondering where it all leads…

      Those are not easy things to get right. Great short story aside, you sort of stumbled onto a perfect spot for a novel opening.

  1. this hit me with all the subtlety of a sucker punch… then it made me cry and gave me goosebumps.. you need to publish this…

    • It made me cry also for I am very close to the cause of the honeybee.. I believe in positive thought and what we think creates our world. How could you end it with a message to the planet of how it “could” be turned around… like what if the honeybee told her something.. just a thought. It was beautifully heart-fully written.

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